Posts for category: Dental Procedures


Like other aspects of our lives, aging can take a toll on our smile. Over a lifetime the effects of disease, teeth wearing and the foods we eat can cause our teeth and gums to look unattractive.

Here are 3 of the most common age-related dental problems and how we can help you "turn back the clock" on each one.

Discoloration. Teeth can dull and grow darker over time. And not just from what we eat or drink—age-related structural changes in the tooth can also cause discoloration. We can often alleviate external staining temporarily with teeth whitening. If the staining is heavy or it originates inside the tooth, then we can install life-like porcelain veneers or crowns to cover the discoloration. We can also use composite dental materials to alter the color of one darkened tooth so that it doesn't stand out from the rest of your teeth.

Wearing. Our teeth naturally wear down over time. If the wearing is excessive, though, teeth can look shorter and less youthful. Again, we can use veneers or crowns to change a tooth's outward appearance and make them look longer. We can also employ enamel contouring and reshaping that smoothes out sharper edges caused by wearing to give your teeth a softer, more youthful look.

Receding gums. On the other end of the spectrum, gums that have shrunk back or receded from the teeth can make them look much larger and unattractive. Our first step is to treat any gum disease present—the most common cause of recession—which often helps the tissues to regenerate. If your case is more advanced, though, you may also need grafting surgery to restore lost gum tissue. Using in-depth microsurgical techniques, surgeons attach grafted gum tissue at the recession site. Over time new tissue will grow, restoring adequate gum coverage.

You can also improve your appearance at any age with orthodontics. Besides a more attractive smile, properly aligned teeth tend to wear more slowly and evenly. This and proper daily oral hygiene and regular dental care can keep your teeth looking younger even in your later years.

If you would like more information on gaining a more youthful smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Your Dentist can help you Look Younger.”

By Richard G Mark DDS
June 11, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: gum disease  

Nearly half of the U.S. population has some form of periodontal (gum) disease, yet many people are unaware that they even have a gum-diseaseproblem! This is largely because the early signs of gum disease aren't dramatic, making them easy to overlook. Fortunately, your Independence, MO, dentist, Dr. Richard Mark, can spot the early signs of gum disease during your regular checkups and recommend the appropriate treatment options!


Brushing is a bloody experience

Bleeding after brushing is a major warning sign of gingivitis (i.e. the earliest, mildest stage of gum disease). If you have gingivitis, your gums may bleed easily, look a little puffy, and feel a bit sore. You may not actually see blood, but you will likely notice a coppery taste in your mouth, or notice that your toothbrush bristles are pink.


You're spending a lot on mouthwash and breath mints

Is your breath bad no matter how much mouthwash you use or how often you pop a breath mint in your mouth? If so, the problem could be an overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth due to gum disease. It's never a good idea to ignore bad breath, as it can also be caused by certain medical diseases and conditions.


Your teeth look longer

Receding gum tissue, a common sign of gum disease, can make your teeth look a little longer. Treating gum disease can stop the recession. If you've lost a significant amount of tissue, you may benefit from gum grafts to restore the normal appearance of your gums.


Your mouth hurts

Red, swollen gums can cause eating and drinking to become painful experiences. If your receding gums expose your roots, you may experience sensitivity when you consume sugary, hot, or cold foods/drinks.


Your gums aren't firmly attached to your teeth

As periodontal disease progresses, your gums may pull away from your teeth, thus causing deep pockets to form. These cavities then provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that can destroy gum tissue, bone, and ligaments.


Your teeth or dentures are loose

Severe gum disease can loosen teeth or change the way your dentures fit. Prompt treatment can help you avoid tooth loss. If you've already lost teeth, your Independence dentist can restore your missing teeth with bridges, dentures or dental implants.


Give us a call!

Have you noticed any of these changes in your gums? If so, call your Independence, MO, dentist, Dr. Richard Mark, at (816) 461-3660 to schedule your appointment!

By Richard G Mark DDS
May 30, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

The fastest and most effective solution for a whiter smile is professional teeth whitening.

You’re sick and tired of feeling embarrassed by your smile for something as small as dental stains and yet having a yellow smile seriously Teeth-Whiteningimpacts your confidence. Maybe you hide your smile in photos or feel awkward talking to colleagues. Luckily, our Independence, MO, cosmetic dentist Dr. Richard Mark has a simple solution: teeth whitening. Put down those at-home whitening strips and find out how a dental professional can help.

Here’s how teeth whitening works…

Your teeth are made out of a harder outer layer known as enamel and an inner layer known as dentin, both of which protect the teeth. However, if you smoke or eat certain dark foods or drinks such as red wine, coffee, or dark foods like berries all of these habits over time can develop a film over your teeth. While visiting your Independence, MO, dentist every six months for cleanings can help remove this film, sometimes if this layer is allowed to remain on teeth for years it can lead to some pretty serious stains that a simple brushing just can’t completely remove.

If you are dealing with this type of stain then professional teeth whitening will be able to remove those stains and give you the whiter smile you’ve been looking for. Enamel is porous, but our teeth whitening system has the ability to target and break up these stain molecules. Peroxide is the main ingredient responsible for not only breaking up these stains but also making the outer layer of your teeth brighter.

Here are your teeth whitening options…

Getting professional teeth whitening will help you achieve results faster and more effectively. No matter whether you want to whiten from the comfort of your own home or from our office, we have the whitening treatment for you. If you are in a hurry and want visible results in about one hour then our in-office whitening system is the best option for you. At-home whitening can also give you amazing results in about 1-2 weeks of continued use with the convenience of being able to whiten from your very own home.

If you want to get a whiter smile in Independence, MO, then it’s time to call our office and let us know. We would be happy to schedule a consultation with our dentist to make sure that teeth whitening is the right cosmetic treatment to meet your smile needs.

By Richard G Mark DDS
May 20, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth loss  

Tooth loss is a problem that affects many seniors—and since May is Older Americans Month, this is a good time to talk about it. Did you know that more than a quarter of adults over age 75 have lost all of their natural teeth? This not only affects their quality of life but poses a significant health risk.

According to a study in The Journal of Prosthodontics, significant tooth loss is associated with increased risk for malnutrition—and also for obesity. If this seems like a contradiction, consider that when you have few or no teeth, it’s much easier to eat soft, starchy foods of little nutritional value than it is to eat nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. If all of your teeth are missing, it’s especially critical to replace them as soon as possible.

There are several ways to replace a full set of missing teeth, including removable dentures, overdentures, and fixed dentures:

Removable dentures are the classic replacement teeth that you put in during the day and take out at night. (However, if you suffer from sleep apnea, research has found that keeping dentures in at night may help keep the airway open, so if you have this condition, be sure to mention it to your doctor and dentist it). Dentures have come a long way in terms of how convincing they look, but they still have some disadvantages: For one thing, they take some getting used to—particularly while eating. Also, wearing removable dentures can slowly wear away the bone that they rest on.  As that bone gradually shrinks over time, the dentures cease to fit well and require periodic adjustment (re-lining) or a remake.

Overdentures are removable dentures that attach onto a few strategically placed dental implants, which are small titanium posts placed in the bone beneath your gums. Strong and secure, implants prevent the denture from slipping when you wear it. Implants also slow the rate of bone loss mentioned above, which should allow the denture to fit better over a longer period of time. The ability to maintain hygiene is easier because you can remove them for cleaning.

Fixed implant-supported dentures are designed to stay in your mouth all the time, and are the closest thing to having your natural teeth back. An entire row of fixed (non-removable) replacement teeth can usually be held in place by 4-6 dental implants. Dental implant surgery is an in-office procedure performed with the type of anesthesia that’s right for you. After implants have been placed and have integrated with your jaw bone—generally after a few months—you can enjoy all of your favorite foods again without worry or embarrassment.

If you would like more information about tooth-replacement options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Overdentures & Fixed Dentures” and “Removable Full Dentures.”


Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.

That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!

Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.

Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”

One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.

Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.

Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”  Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.

If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”